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A fair number of towers and skyscrapers have been built across Japan, mostly in the large cities. Erected as symbols of modernity, many of the towers function as television and radio broadcast towers. Furthermore, many feature observation decks with panoramic views from high up above the city, making them prime sightseeing spots. The following is a selection of some of the best towers and observatories found around the country:

Hokkaido

Sapporo TV Tower

Height: 150 meters
Completed in 1957
The Sapporo TV Tower lies at the east end of Odori Park and provides a beautiful view out over the surrounding city from its 90 meter high observation deck. The view is especially attractive during the Sapporo Snow Festival when you can look out over the giant snow sculptures that line the park. The orange, lattice style tower is illuminated in the evenings, making for a memorable landmark.

Sapporo JR Tower

Height: 173 meters
Completed in 2003
Standing 173 meters tall, Sapporo JR Tower is the tallest building in Hokkaido. The skyscraper is located above the south entrance of Sapporo Station and contains a shopping mall, department store, hotel and office space. On the top floor is the nicely designed T38 Observation Deck which offers visitors views of the city from 160 meters above ground.

Goryokaku Tower

Height: 107 meters
Completed in 2006
Located just outside the southern entrance to Fort Goryokaku is the 107 meter tall Goryokaku Tower, which offers visitors a bird's eye view of the massive, star shaped fortress below. The views are best around early May when the hundreds of cherry trees usually bloom all around the fortress's moats.

Tohoku Region

AER Building

Height: 145.5 meters
Completed in 1998
At the time of its completion, Sendai's AER building was the tallest skyscraper in the Tohoku Region. The building contains mostly office space, but also has several floors dedicated to shops and restaurants including a Uniqlo and a Pokemon Center. The top floor features a small, but free observation deck offering views out over the city.

Kanto Region

Tokyo Skytree

Height: 634 meters
Completed in 2012
Rising 634 meters above the city, the Tokyo Skytree is Japan's tallest tower and the second tallest structure in the world at the time of its completion. The Skytree is home to the two highest observation decks in Japan. The lower deck starts off at an impressive 350 meters above ground, while the upper deck is a staggering 450 meter high. At the base of the tower is a shopping mall, restaurants and an aquarium.

Tokyo Tower

Height: 333 meters
Completed in 1958
Modeled after the Eiffel Tower, the 333 meter high Tokyo Tower is actually 13 meters taller than its inspiration and an important symbol of Japan's postwar recovery into an economic power. The tower has two observation decks, a main observatory at 150 meters and a special observatory at 250 meters, both of which offer views as far away as the Tokyo Skytree and Mount Fuji on a good day. The lower floors house a wax museum, aquarium, arcade and souvenir shops.

Roppongi Hills Mori Tower

Height: 238 meters
Completed in 2003
The centerpiece of Tokyo's Roppongi Hills, the Mori Tower houses the elegant Tokyo City View observation deck and the excellent Mori Art Museum on its topmost floors. On the roof of the building is the exhilarating, 238 meter high, open air Sky Deck offering 360 degree views out over the city. The Sky Deck may be closed due to strong wind or bad weather.

Landmark Tower

Height: 296 meters
Completed in 1993
Yokohama's Landmark Tower was the tallest building in Japan until it was surpassed by Abeno Harukas. The tower houses one of the highest observatories in the country behind the Tokyo Skytree and features some of the fastest elevators in the world which make the trip from the base to the top in about 40 seconds. The observatory also has a bar where you can see impressive views of the surrounding city.

Yokohama Marine Tower

Height: 106 meters
Completed in 1961
The Yokohama Marine Tower is located along the Yokohama waterfront in Yamashita Park just next to the Hikawa Maru museum ship. The seaside tower has a 100 meter high observation deck from where you can see 360 degree views of Yokohama Bay and the city below.

There are several more towers and observation decks build around Tokyo, and too many to list on this page. For more detailed information check out our Tokyo Observation Deck Guide.

Chubu Region

Midland Square

Height: 247 meters
Completed in 2007
Midland Square is the tallest building in Nagoya. Located just opposite Nagoya Station, the 247 meter high building houses numerous shops, chic boutiques, a cinema, and restaurants and cafes. The top three floors of the building house the Sky Promenade, an open-air observation deck with panoramic views over the city.

Nagoya TV Tower

Height: 180 meters
Completed in 1954
Completed in 1954, the Nagoya TV Tower is one of the older landmarks of Nagoya's downtown Sakae District. The 180 meter high tower was the first TV tower of its kind in Japan and houses an observation deck 100 meters above ground.

Kansai Region

Kyoto Tower

Height: 131 meters
Completed in 1964
At a height of 131 meters, Kyoto Tower is the highest building and a rare modern icon in a city otherwise famous for its traditional wooden buildings and ancient temples and shrines. The tower features an observation deck 100 meters above ground offering a 360 degree view of Kyoto and as far as Osaka on good days. The building below the tower contains shops, restaurants, a hotel and a public bath.

Abeno Harukas

Height: 300 meters
Completed in 2014
The 300 meter high Abeno Harukas is the tallest building in Japan. It houses a department store, an art museum, a hotel and an impressive observation deck, which occupies the highest three floors of the tower. The enclosed viewing areas feature floor-to-ceiling windows and offer 360 degree views of Osaka. A cafe and an attractive open air deck are located on the observatory's lowest floor.

Cosmo Tower

Height: 256 meters
Completed in 1995
Located on a man-made island in the Osaka Bay Area, Cosmo Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Osaka as well as in Japan. The tower is home to some prefectural government offices and offers beautiful views over Osaka Bay from an observation deck shaped like an inverted pyramid on the building's roof. Restaurants and shops are found on the uppermost and lowermost floors.

Umeda Sky Building

Height: 173 meters
Completed in 1993
The Umeda Sky Building is a unique high rise near Osaka and Umeda Stations in Osaka's bustling Kita District. The building consists of two towers connected by the "Floating Garden Observatory", an open-air observation deck that offers great views out over the city especially at night. A shopping mall and restaurants are found on the lower floors.

Tsutenkaku Tower

Height: 103 meters
Completed in 1956
Loosely modeled after the Eiffel Tower, Tsutenkaku Tower was originally built in 1912 in Osaka's lively Shinsekai district. The original tower was scrapped for its metal during WWII, but was reconstructed soon afterwards in 1956. The current tower features an observation deck 91 meters above ground. Atmospheric shops and izakaya surround the base of the tower.

Kobe Port Tower

Height: 108 meters
Completed in 1963
To the west of the Maritime Museum stands the Kobe Port Tower, a unique, red painted, steel structure that has become a symbol of the port and Kobe City. Built in 1963, the tower stands 108 meters tall, and visitors may take an elevator up to its five top floors. Two of the floors house a restaurant and a rotating cafe, while the other three house observation decks that provide 360 degree views of the city from approximately 100 meters above ground.

Shikoku

Seto Ohashi Tower

Height: 132 meters
Completed in 1988
The Seto Ohashi Tower stands along the west end of the Seto Ohashi Memorial Park on Shamijima at the southern end of the Seto Ohashi Bridge that connects Shikoku to the Japanese main island of Honshu. The tower features a rotating observation chamber which climbs 108 meters up the tower, and offers visitors 360 degree views of the Seto Ohashi Bridge, the Seto Inland Sea, Shamijima and the park below.

Kyushu

Fukuoka Tower

Height: 234 meters
Completed in 1989
Built along Fukuoka City's Seaside Momochi waterfront district in 1989 to commemorate the city's 100th anniversary, Fukuoka Tower rises to a height of 234 meters and is far and away the city's highest building and Japan's tallest seaside tower. The tower is adorned in over 8000 one-way mirrors and sports a three-story observation deck 123 meters above ground, which offers good views of the surrounding city and bay.

Okinawa

Nagominoto Tower

Height: 4.5 meters
Completed in 1953
The Nagominoto is a 4.5 meter concrete tower located roughly in the center of the village on Taketomijima Island. Built on a small hill, the tower offers views from a combined height of around 10 meters above ground from where you can see out over the traditionally styled houses around the village to most of the rest of the island.
Page last updated: October 21, 2014